Webster sheriff, deputies arrest man accused of murder
Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton, Chief Deputy Bobby Igo and a contingency of deputies have arrested a Texas man suspected of murdering three members of his family.
Igo said the sheriff's office received word Thursday from the U.S. Marshal's office that Thomas Taunton, 52, who is wanted for the shooting deaths of his parents and sister, was in Webster Parish.
"He was driving a rental car – as we understood it, he had dropped his truck and trailer at Granger Ford, a dealership in Stonewall, to have some work done on the truck," Igo said. "When we saw him, we followed him south on Hwy. 371 to Coushatta, then to I-49 and trailed him into DeSoto Parish. He had no idea we were behind him."
Taunton was allegedly headed back to the dealership to pick up his truck and trailer.
Community Action Directed Patrol Capt. Robert Hayden and deputies Bobby Igo III and Joel Thomas, were in a vehicle in front of Sexton and Igo when they received word that Taunton was at the dealership.
"We were behind the other deputies, so the sheriff and I just pulled in and arrested him at the dealership," Igo said. "He was inside, in the office, getting ready to pay his bill."
DeSoto Parish deputies were also involved. According to Igo, Taunton was taken to the DeSoto Parish Sheriff's Office where he was being held until U.S. Marshals arrived.
"Taunton didn't resist," Igo said. "He just kept asking what it was all about."
Texas Rangers were expected on the scene today with warrants in hand to search the rental car, Taunton's vehicle and the trailer for evidence.
"Taunton did not give us consent to search," said Igo. "So warrants were necessary. We believe there is something in the truck or trailer – could be a weapon or perhaps a body."
The family has been missing several days and Fannin County authorities who searched the residence believe foul play is involved.
Family missing several days
Editor's note: The following information was released by Fannin County Sheriff Donnie D. Foster on January 19.
On January 18, 2012 Fannin County Sheriff's Office received information regarding the possibility that three persons were missing from a residence in southern Fannin County and that foul play might be involved.
Investigators went to the location to attempt contact with the residents. Attempts to make contact with anyone at the residence were unsuccessful.
Because of information regarding foul play, investigators made entry into the home to check the welfare of the homeowners. Investigators did not find anyone in the residence but did notice things which could indicate that foul play was involved in the disappearance of the residents.
Additional agencies were contacted and all available resources are being utilized in attempt to locate the missing people. Fannin County investigators remained at the residence overnight in hopes that the residents might return. They did not. As of this time, the residents have not been located.
As this is an ongoing investigation with possible foul play, no further information will be released at this time.
As information regarding this incident develops, media will be updated.